The Ferrari 250 GTO



The Ferrari 250 GTO

THE 250 GT Berlinetta Ferrari was the standard for competition cars that everyone tried to emulate. The 3-litre V12 engined coupe went through a long development life closely involved with long-distance racing, especially the tougher events like the Targa Florio, the Le Mans 24 hour race and the Tour de France. The ultimate version of the competition coupe Ferrari first appeared in 1962 and was the 250 GTO on which much attention had been given to aerodynamks in the body shape, aimed at increasing top speed to around 175 m.p.h. and improving adhesion by creating down-force, or at least getting rid of aerodynamic lift. In the eyes of most Ferrari enthusiasts the 250 GTO is the most beautiful competition coupe of all time from Maranello and everyone would like one. It was in late 1960 that plans were started for an improved version of the existing 250 GT SWB lightweight Berlinetta, and more speed was vital for racing as opposition was due to come from the lightweight E-type Jaguar, the Zagato bodied Aston Martin and the Shelby Cobras. The prototype cars were bodied by the factory panel beaters, but when the GTO was finalised the production bodiec were made by Scaglietti in Modena. Enzo Ferrari showed the new 250 GT Competition Berlinetta 1962, as the car was called officially, to the Pre. at Maranello on February 24th 1962 and as it had been homologated with FIA it was ready for battle. Its successes in competition were enorrnous anti it swept the GT field until the advent of the mid-engined GT cars. Homologation was a comparatively new activity within the FIA and the Itafian word was Omologato. In a telegram to Ferrari at one point in negotiations the car was described as the 250

GTO, when tho meant to say 250 01-0 (for Omologato). This mistake coined the title 250 GTO and it has stuck ever since. Apart from prototypes and experimental cars with 4-litre engin, a total of thirty-six aro models were built, which was more than enough for the GT racing fraternity’s needs at the time. Now that everyone is collecting old things, and not using them, the 250 GTO is much sought after. Consequently. certain motor dealers and Ferrari specialists arc beginning to satisfy the ever-demanding ntarket by taking normal 250 GT Ferraris and having them rebtxlied vvith GTO-type bodywork. On the face of it the normal production 250 GT has the sante mechanical components as the 250 GTO, but in fact this is far

Seem the truth. Doubtless some of these fake Ferraris will be passed elites the real thing, but there is no reason for anyone to be caught byes unscrupulous dealer, for Ferrari Clubs abound in almost every country 2nd they will always assist a prospective owner. A far safer bet is to acquire a copy of that fine book by Jess G. Pourret entitled “The Ferrari 250 GT Competition”, published by John W. Barnes Publishing Inc. Box 323, Scarsdale, New York 10583, USA. In it all the real GTO Ferraris are listed in detail and all the differences between GT and GTO are explained in great detail. With this knowledge any prospective purchaser of a GTO Ferrari should be able to verify its authenticity and see how well the dealer hee make his fake.—D.S.J.